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Moscow ready to consider NATO concept of arms control — diplomat

A diplomat says NATO’s reply to Russia’s military proposals is washed out

MOSCOW, October 6. /TASS/. Russia is ready to consider NATO’s concept of control over weapons but this project still lacks specifics, head of Foreign Ministry’s department of European cooperation Andrei Kelin said on Thursday.

"The NATO countries drew up their concept of control over weapons in the mid-2014," the diplomat told the second Young Diplomats Forum. "But after Ukraine’s armaments they put it in the drawer and decided not to discuss it with us."

If NATO countries indeed carry out work and present this concept, "Russia will be ready to consider it." "Now we have only the famous article of German Foreign Minister (Frank-Walter) Steinmeier laying out several proposals that are very often mentioned at various conferences devoted to the issue," he said.

"Now this is a mere idea and nothing more. It should become more specific," he added.

NATO's reply

The diplomat said Russia has received a reply from NATO on the Russian military’s proposals to resume a dialog in some areas but it is quite unspecific and washed out.

"Russia has received NATO’s reply, as agreed by the Russia-NATO Council, to the proposals submitted by our military on the resumption of a dialog in some areas, including for the purpose of increasing trust in the Baltic region," the diplomat said.

"However, this reply is quite unspecific and washed out," he added. "We expect that we’ll be told about specific forms and these thoughts that are formulated on paper," Kelin said.

"And then we’ll set up our mind about the added value of convening a session of the Russia-NATO Council and the date of its holding," he said.

The latest session of the Russia-NATO Council was held in Brussels on July 13.

Balkan states’ accession

The diplomat went on to say that the expected accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro to NATO will not bring advantage to these countries’ relations with Moscow.

Today NATO is conducting "an unfriendly policy towards Russia," he said. "In particular, foreign forces are deployed to the territory of the Baltic states."

In the current situation, the accession of the Balkan states to NATO "works not for stability but for increasing confrontation in relations between the countries." 

"This won’t be beneficial to the relations with Russia," Kelin added.

NATO-Russia Council to ease tensions

The diplomat stressed the dialogue as part of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) should be used for ratcheting down tensions.

"We should use the dialogue of the NATO-Russia Council for de-escalating and reducing tensions," the diplomat said.

The diplomat reminded that NATO defense ministers will hold a meeting in the coming days. "We know that it will consider the issue of creating a permanent combat naval force in the Black Sea," he said, stressing: "We have to take counter-measures."

Kelin reminded that in response to NATO’s moves Russia’s military leadership decided to deploy three new divisions in the western direction. "We don’t need these efforts in economic terms, they are harmful for the situation in general. But in this case the military have to respond."

"Let’s see how this will further affect our relations," he said.